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Playback - Digital Media Snippets

Catwalk version 1.0.12 is available

3.30pm, 31st March 2009

The latest version of Catwalk is now available.

Catwalk v1.0.12 improves the integration with other Linn DS control points - When using Catwalk in a system with other controllers, the Album art of added tracks are preserved, and imported into Media Center. This means you can add albums to your DS using (for example) Kinsky PDA, and they will be visible to Catwalk complete with Album Art for use with Media Center's visualisation toys.

Using Catwalk and Kinsky PDA is a great pairing - Use Catwalk to que up a few of your recently purchased albums, and then, while you are relaxing on the sofa, you can add additional tracks with Kinsky PDA as the mood takes you. When you are done, you can head back to Catwalk to edit the day's playlist, and save it for next time.

Also included in this release is our receipt validation. Those of you that have puchased Catwalk (Many Thanks!) will be able to customise your version with a small message.

Finally, there are some changes to improve reliability. Catwalk is more robust when your computer hibernates or enters standby while it is not being used. And when roaming between networks, (for example when switching between a wireless and wired network on the same computer.) There are more fixes to come, so please keep sending us your log files.

Full release notes are available here

Catwalk's journey through Beta

4.00pm, 8th March 2009

Catwalk has been in Beta for approximately 3 weeks. Over this time, we have made 7 new bug fix releases based on the exceptionally useful feedback provided by our customers. Many thanks to those of you that have reported issues, been making suggestions, and been testing Catwalk.

If you are interested in contributing to the development of Catwalk by becoming a beta tester, please let us know by emailing us. As a small "Thank you", Catwalk will be available to active beta testers at a reduced price.

Catwalk version 1.0.11 is available

8.30am, 8th March 2009

Catwalk version 1.0.11 is available to download from

Since we released our first version in Feburary, we have made several improvements to Catwalk. Here is a quick summary of the changes since version 1.0.4b.

House-keeping is improved - Catwalk now comes with an installer that understands Vista's security system, and will add itself to the HTTP access control list and the Windows firewall. It also talks to XP, Vista Home, and Vista Ultimate in non-English languages.

Usability is improved - Version 1.0.11 fixes an intermittent problem with "Play Now" functionality. Occationally Catwalk would miss a play command, and fail to start playback the first time an a Album or song is added with the "Play Now" buttons.

Making the Play Now feature robust has openned up a wealth of Media Center's music browing features for your Linn DS. In particular the "3D Music Wall", and "Theatre View" provide graphical interfaces suitable for use with a big screen, a standard remote control, and a sofa. (Sofa optional).

Video Wall Video Wall Theatre View
The Media Centre Music Wall and Theatre View available on your DS

Catwalk now has a dedicated output plugin which captures all audio coming from Media Centre. Initially, this means Catwalk is better behaved with your PC audio settings. But more importantly it also sets us up for some neat features in the future where we can directly capture the audio coming from JRiver.

All the gruesome details of Catwalk releases can be found in the release notes.

Video On Demand is not Video on your Laptop

5.30pm, 16th February 2009

In December 2008 Blockbusters joined Netflix, Virgin Media, BT Vision, et al with a Video On Demand service and STB to plug into your telly. (Here is the Press Release, and a review from Gizmodo)

All of these companies are betting that they are more likely to get your video rental business if they don't require you to leave your sofa to watch a movie of your choosing. Nothing good on TV?... but want to avoid a trip to the local video rental store? Not comfortable watching iTunes video or You Tube clips on your laptop? These VoD services will pipe mainstream movies directly onto your plasma screen over the internet. To enable this, they will sell you (or subsidise) the necessary self-branded CE kit to allow you to watch their subscription content on your TV.

Netflix is ahead in partnering with traditional CE brands to put its service at the receiving end of your remote control. (eg, Both LG and Samsung integrate the Netflix service with their BluRay players). Predictably Blockbusters has stated its intention to broaden its deployment beyond the Media Point hardware.

Sitting alongside the self-branded kit from content providers and traditional CE vendors, there is a growing list of independent hardware vendors that want to shuffle digital media from the internet onto your TV. In May 2008 Roku launched their digital video player with Netflix support. (Engadget review). You can find similar independent VoD products from Vudu and others.

A Play Button.

Digital Media Snippets, by Morgan


© Morgan Henry, 2009